You know that feeling you get when you know you cannot back out of a situation?
That’s the feeling you get before you speak to students. It’s a climactic feeling that can be overwhelming. You do all this work to put yourself out there. You build a website, you learn how to create a speaking demo video, you market your services to schools and organizations.
You get a request from a school about the possibility of speaking at their school. You secure the gig via speaking contract. You make travel arrangements and actually fly across the country and show up at an agreed upon time.
You walk into the school and meet the Principal and other school administrators who all have high hopes that you are going to deliver on what they hired you for. It’s close to the time when someone is going introduce you and hand the microphone over to you for the next hour.
They walk you to the place where you’ll be speaking and you find out it’s in the school gymnasium because that’s the only venue that can hold all the students at one time.
Veteran Advice: If the school has an auditorium but using it for your presentation would require you to do two speeches instead of one…..DO IT!
You as well as the audience will have a much better experience in an auditorium setting. Simply put, auditoriums are comfortable and were created as a space to watch something happening on stage. Gymnasiums were created for sporting events and can be uncomfortable sitting down for a long period of time.
The sound system in a gymnasium echoes so be sure to talk slower than you usually would. Also, keep in mind the temperature in gyms tend to be warmer making people feel sleepy.
However, when students walk into an auditorium, they think performance or pep-rally. Be sure the curtains are closed behind you so you have less of a distraction.
Bottom line, you’ll win over your audience faster in an auditorium because they are more in tune to listen as all their attention is directed toward the stage and the sound system is right above them making it easy to catch every word coming out of your mouth.